Earlier this year, the Bangladeshi government and the film industry reached a compromise, allowing a cap of 10 Hindimovies to be screened in the country annually.This was a decision met with years of resistance from local artists concerned about the impact of foreign films on the native movie industry. ‘Jawan’ will be the third Hindi film to be shown under this new arrangement, and uniquely, it will premiere inBangladesh on the same day as its global release, September 7.
The previous Hindi films that made it to Bangladeshi theaters, namely ‘Pathaan‘ and ‘Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan,’ underperformed according to industry expectations. Movie producer Khourshed Alam attributes their mediocre performance to the fact that these movies were released in Bangladesh long after their global premieres. Audiences, it seems, had already consumed these films through other channels by the time they reached the local theaters. However, Alam notes that since ‘Jawan’ is premiering simultaneously worldwide, it remains to be seen how well it will perform in Bangladesh.
Directed by Atlee, ‘Jawan’ has already been cleared by the Censor Board for theatrical release, as confirmed by Anonno Mamun, the spokesperson for the film’s distribution company in Bangladesh. The movie boasts an ensemble cast including Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi, Sanya Malhotra, Priyamani, and Sunil Grover, along with a cameo appearance by Deepika Padukone.
Despite the excitement, the film has its share of detractors. A cadre of influential filmmakers and actors, like Delwar Jahan Jhantu, AQ Khokon, Saimon Tariq, and many others, have rallied against ‘Jawan’s’ release. Their opposition stems from a belief that foreign films could overshadow the painstakingly nurtured Bangladeshi film industry. They argue that ‘Jawan’ is not adhering to established regulations for importing Hindi films and are prepared to protest if needed.
Adding more fuel to the fire are conflicting opinions within industry organizations. While Miya Alauddin, the senior vice president of Bangladesh Chalachitra Pradarshak Samiti, acknowledges a high demand for quality content, Ilias Kanchan, president of the Chalachitra Shilpi Samiti, and Kazi Hayat, the president of Bangladesh Parichalak Samiti, believe that local films have outperformed imports and question the cultural value that Hindi films could potentially add.
Moreover, booking agents and theatre owners in Bangladesh are reportedly very excited, anticipating that ‘Jawan’ will surpass the previous Hindi films in terms of commercial success. The movie is also being booked ahead of its release in the U.S. and India, amplifying the global buzz.
In this layered context, it will be fascinating to see if ‘Jawan’ changes the course of foreign film reception in Bangladesh, either confirming the worries of its critics or validating the enthusiasm of its proponents. With its star-studded cast and global premiere, ‘Jawan’ is certainly set to leave a lasting impression, one way or another.